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Full text of "Relationship between long-term monitoring and short-term problem assessment techniques in management of large river-floodplain ecosystems"

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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LONG-TERM MONITORING 

AND SHORT-TERM PROBLEM ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUES 

IN MANAGEMENT OF LARGE RIVER-FLOODPLAIN ECOSYSTEMS 

Richard E. Sparks, K. Douglas Blodgett, and Thomas V. Lerczak 

Illinois Natural History Survey 

River Research Laboratory of the Forbes Biological Station 

Havana, IL 62644 

INTRODUCTION 

Large river-floodplain ecosystems have been defined as those where the flood 
is sufficiently predictable and long lasting that organisms have adapted to 
utilize the flooded land and expanded floodplain pools and lakes for feeding, 
spawning, and nurseries (Junk et al . 1989). The habitat complexity and dynam- 
ic nature of large floodplain rivers boost biological productivity through a 
variety of biotic and abiotic processes (the "floodpulse advantage" described 
by Bayley 1991), but also challenge biologists who design sampling programs to 
detect trends and sort out natural from human-induced changes in fish and 
wildlife populations. The Illinois River is a good test for survey design and 
for problem identification and assessment techniques because it is a large, 
complex floodplain river and has experienced virtually every impact associated 
with human development of rivers and their basins, with the exception of acid 
mine drainage and high dams (Sparks 1992). This paper describes a long-term 
fish population survey on the Illinois River and how the results provided 
preliminary insights into problems that subsequently were investigated using 
ancillary sampling and toxicity evaluations. 

DESIGN OF A LONG-TERM FISH POPULATION SURVEY 

The study area 

Human influences on the Illinois River are separated in space: the upstream 
reaches are strongly affected by the Chicago urban area and the downstream 
reaches by drainage from the corn belt that runs across the middle of the 
state (Figure 1). Virtually any major constituent of urban or industrial 
waste increases upstream toward Chicago (e.g., total ammonia, Figure 2), 
whereas suspended sediment concentrations (which reflect soil erosion associ- 
ated with agriculture) increase downstream (Figure 3). The fish population 
survey was designed to cover the entire length of the river (in fact, more 
than the length of the river, as explained below), to take advantage of the 
physical separation of urban and agricultural impacts in interpreting up- 
stream-downstream changes in fish populations. 

Urban impact on the river was drastically increased in 1900, when the Chicago 
Sanitary and Ship Canal was opened to carry city wastes away from Lake Michi- 
gan and down the Des Plaines River to the Illinois River (Figure 1). The flow 
of the Chicago River had been reversed as early as 1871 for the same purpose, 
but the volume of waste was smaller and the impacts more localized then be- 
cause of the smaller conveyance capacity of the older channels (Sparks 1977). 
Today the interconnected channels and rivers comprise a 2.7-m-deep (9 feet) 
commercial navigation channel, the Illinois Waterway, that links Lake Michigan 
to the Mississippi River. Twenty-four of the electrofishing stations are in 



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Long-term monitoring Sparks, BTodgett, and Lerczak Page 2 

the Illinois River proper, two are in the Des Plaines River, and one is in the 
Mississippi River, just downstream of the mouth of the Illinois, and serves as 
a reference station that historically has been less perturbed by pollution 
than the stations in the Illinois River. Locations in the figures and text 
are given in Illinois Waterway miles, rather than kilometers, because mileages 
are used in the chartbooks furnished by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and 
are posted along the waterway starting with mile 0.0 at the Mississippi-Illi- 
nois confluence and extending upstream to mile 327 where the Chicago River 
joins Lake Michigan at the Thomas J. O'Brien Lock. 

The waterway is divided into 8 reaches defined by low navigation dams that 
range in height from 3 m (10 ft) to 12 m (38 ft); only the lower six reaches 
are included in the electrofishing survey. The Corps of Engineers names the 
dams according to a town or other nearby geographical feature and refers to 
the reaches between dams as navigation pools, with each pool sharing the name 
of the downstream dam that forms it; e.g., the Peoria Dam is at Peoria, Illi- 
nois and backs up water in the Peoria Pool. The three upstream pools 
(Dresden, Marseilles, and Starved Rock) are in a relatively narrow 0.8 km-wide 
(0.5 mile) bedrock valley, that contrasts greatly with the 3-km to 12-km-wide 
(1.8 to 7.2 miles) floodplain and formerly extensive backwaters of the three 
pools downstream (Peoria, La Grange, and Alton). Although half of the former 
floodplain in the downstream pools has been drained, primarily for 
agriculture, 81,000 ha (200,000 acres) remain in a mosaic of state and federal 
public lands and private waterfowl hunting clubs that are concentrated in the 
Peoria and LaGrange pools (Bellrose et al . 1983; Mills, Starrett and Bellrose 
1966). 

Sampling gear 

An ambitious long-term fish sampling program on the Illinois River was initi- 
ated by W.C. Starrett in 1957 and originally included use of several types of 
active and passive sampling gear, each adapted to certain types of big-river 
habitat. Over the last 35 years it was not possible to continue the same 
level of effort and also follow up on problems the survey had identified, so 
sampling with a boat-mounted electrofishing rig became the standard technique, 
for logistical and technical reasons. With the electrofishing boat, two 
people can sample 27 sites (usually electrofishing for an hour at each site) 
along a 280-mile (451-km) reach of the Illinois Waterway in the relatively 
brief span of 15 work days in the field, excluding time required for prepara- 
tion of equipment and downtime because of equipment failure or bad weather. 

Although the efficiency of any sampling gear varies according to the behavior 
and size of the fish, the skills of the operator, and characteristics of the 
habitat, electrofishing is capable of capturing a wide range of sizes and 
species. The size range is limited on the small end of the scale primarily by 
the mesh size of the dip net and the ability of the dipper to see the fish and 
on the other end by the ability of larger fish to detect and avoid the elec- 
tric field before they are stunned (Bayley and Dowling 1990; Austen 1992). 
Electrofishing is virtually the only nondestructive (to fish and habitat) 
technique that can extract fish from the brush piles, log jams, and root 
masses along undercut banks that provide most of the natural habitat structure 
for fish in the Illinois River. 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 3 

Measurements 

Most of the fish are identified, weighed, measured for total length, and 
checked for external abnormalities in the field, then returned alive to the 
waterway. Fish that may be difficult to identify (e.g., some hybrids) are 
preserved and examined later in the laboratory. The type and location of, 
abnormalities on the fish are recorded, and include such things as sores or 
lumps on the body, eroded fins, external parasites, and skeletal deformities 
such as spinal curvature or a bulging condition of the operculum known to 
commercial fishermen as "knothead". 

Sampling limitations 

Electrofishing does have limitations that must be considered in designing the 
sampling program and interpreting the results. A key factor is that the 
stunned fish must be seen by the person with the dip net to be caught, hence 
we set the electric field to a relatively shallow maximum depth of 1-1.5 m in 
the turbid Illinois Waterway and fish along shorelines. Bottom-dwelling 
fishes are underrepresented in the catch, and species that occupy deep por- 
tions of the main channel, such as sturgeon, are taken rarely, if at all. 
Because of these and other sampling limitations our electrofishing does not 
quantify the population size in numbers or biomass per unit area or volume of 
habitat, but does indicate relative abundance (catch per 60 minutes of sam- 
pling effort, in our case—some investigators use catch per unit length of 
shoreline). As long as the capture efficiency for each species is the same 
year-to-year and place-to-place, fluctuations in catch will reflect real 
differences in the populations, although the exact relationship can only be 
determined by gear calibration experiments as suggested by Larimore (1961), 
Bayley and Dowling (1990), and Austen (1992). Consistent capture efficiency 
requires using the same techniques (same equipment, same boat speed, etc.) 
under consistent environmental conditions, a point that is discussed next. 

Temporal considerations 

An important consideration in a large floodplain river is the time of sampling 
in relation to annual floods and temperature cycles. Fish disperse in the 
expanded aquatic habitat when water levels are high thereby lowering capture 
efficiency. They also change their distribution seasonally, e.g., moving 
between spring spawning areas and wintering areas. We sample between the last 
week of August and the first week of October because the river is usually in a 
stable low-flow condition, with constant water levels maintained by the navi- 
gation dams, and the fish have not moved into wintering areas. Also, by fall 
the young fish produced during the spring flood have grown large enough to be 
vulnerable to capture and the low water levels concentrate the fish in the 
permanent channels that we sample. By capturing young-of-the-year, we gain 
information about the reproductive success and early growth of fish in the 
year of sampling. If we sampled earlier, we might miss the young fish and 
have to wait a year before they were large enough to show up in our samples; 
hence, we might not detect a reproductive failure until more than a year after 
the event. We do not sample during floods, even if they occur during our 
seasonal sampling "window", because it would be impossible to separate the 
effects of high water in reducing our capture efficiency from a real decline 
in the population. 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 4 



Habitat stratification 

The aquatic habitats available to fish during the stable, low-flow period can 
be broadly divided into permanent backwaters, with lentic conditions, and, 
permanent channels with flowing water. Although each of these can be further 
subdivided (Figure 4), we here consider only the shallow channel borders that 
we actually sample. We cannot adequately sample all habitats along the length 
of the entire waterway because of manpower limitations, and the fish in the 
channels are most consistently exposed to the broadscale water quality effects 
that we hope to detect, whereas fish in backwaters are subject to strong local 
effects once the floodwaters recede and the hydraulic connections among back- 
waters and channels are diminished or severed. Local effects include such 
things as heavy predation on fish by herons from an adjacent rookery, develop- 
ment of anoxic conditions, or sediment resuspension by wind-driven waves in 
backwaters with a long wind fetch. 

Channel habitats include the main navigation channel and shallower side chan- 
nels, up to 17 km (10 miles) long, around islands. Our sampling generally is 
conducted along the shallow borders and cut banks of the main channel and 
major side channels. Where the length of shoreline available for sampling 
exceeds what can be covered in 60 minutes, a segment is chosen within the site 
that includes natural habitat structure such as a brush pile, or man-made 
structures such as boat docks. During the 35 years of the electrofishing 
survey, three of the side channels have shortened because of erosion of is- 
lands, to the point where the sampling time had to be reduced to 30 minutes, 
to avoid going back over the same area or going outside the side channel. 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 

We use the example of the electrofishing survey of the Illinois Waterway to 
suggest an approach to three fundamental questions that biomonitoring is 
expected to answer: Have conditions improved? What problems remain? What 
causes the problems? We briefly describe some of the upstream-downstream and 
year-to-year trends in the fish populations of the Illinois Waterway and how 
the data provided preliminary insights into factors responsible for the 
trends — factors that were later confirmed by short-term, problem-directed 
studies. The presentation is organized according to the types of information 
provided by the electrofishing survey: (1) relative abundance of fishes, (2) 
fish health, as determined by body condition (body length/body depth ratio or 
weight at a given length), and (3) fish health, as determined by incidence of 
abnormalities. 

Relative abundance 



The relative abundance of fish species in the Illinois Waterway reflects both 
agricultural and urban impacts. The occurrence of white crappie (Pomoxis 
annularis) primarily in the lower Illinois River probably reflects the known 
tolerance of this species for turbid water, or perhaps some competitive advan- 
tage in turbid water in relation to its congener, the black crappie (Pomoxis 
nigromaculatus), which is known to prefer clearer water (Figure 5; Smith 
1979). Species that spawn in aquatic vegetation, such as black buffalo 
{Ictiobus niger) and yellow bass {Morone mississippiensis) are now rare in the 
lower river where submersed aquatic vegetation has been largely eliminated by 
reduced light penetration, watery sediments that do not provide good roothold, 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 5 

and frequent resuspension of sediments by boat- or wind-driven waves (Sparks 
et al. 1990). 

In the upstream pools closest to Chicago, the electrofishing catches were 
dominated by the introduced common carp, goldfish, and hybrids of the two, 
from the 1960s until the 1980s (Sparks 1977; Sparks and Starrett 1975). In 
contrast, catches from downstream pools contained a variety of native species, 
and could be characterized as largemouth bass-bluegill communities. Brightly- 
colored goldfish were common in the catch from Dresden Pool, apparently 
because there were no native piscivores to consume them. The situation 
changed in the 1980s: native species, including bluegill, largemouth bass, 
smallmouth bass, and sauger returned to the upstream pools, and brightly 
colored goldfish were replaced by drab ones. After becoming uncommon in the 
1950s, sauger have returned (Figure 6) and supported a nationally-ranked 
annual fishing tournament at Marseilles for the past four years. Today, the 
Illinois River provides 2 million angling days per year, valued at $40 million 
annually, and hunters spend an additional $44 million per year (Conlin 1991). 
The Peoria Convention and Visitors Bureau is hoping to attract the BASSMASTER 
Classic in August 1993 and again in 1994, which the Bureau estimates will 
boost the regional economy by $14 million. 

Two lines of evidence support the contention that this favorable change is 
largely attributable to improvements in water quality. First, the drought of 
1988-1989 did not cause as severe a depression in populations of native game 
fishes (e.g., largemouth bass, Figure 7) as the drought in the mid-1960s. 
Although both droughts probably reduced the production of game fish because of 
the reduction or absence of the floodpulse, low oxygen levels and other pollu- 
tion-related stresses were more severe in the 1960s and 1970s and probably 
reduced the survival of even adult fish (Sparks and Starrett 1975). 

The other line of evidence comes from short-term field studies on the rela- 
tionship between water quality and fish communities in the Illinois River and 
in the Du Page River, a northern tributary of the Illinois in the Chicago area 
(Lubinski and Sparks 1981; Brigham and Hey 1981). In these studies, chemical 
concentration units were converted to toxicity units and then summed to pro- 
vide an estimate of total stress on the fish, taking into account the effects 
of factors that modify chemical equilibria or the sensitivity of the fish 
(temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, calcium concentration). Stress values 
greater than 1.0 were associated with fishless reaches in Du Page River, and 
threshold values of 0.2-0.4 were associated with a shift from bass-bluegill 
communities to carp-goldfish communities in both the Illinois River and Du 
Page River. Application of the stress index to water quality data from the 
Illinois River indicates that un-ionized ammonia from Chicago remains a major 
contributor to toxicity in the upper waterway, but that the stress levels in 
the Chicago area and in the rest of the waterway have been substantially 
reduced since 1975 (Figure 8). A by-product of the stress analysis is the 
indication that present Illinois Pollution Control standards are not protec- 
tive of fish, particularly small ones at winter temperatures, so more strin- 
gent standards appear to be warranted (Figure 9). 

Condition factor 

Two condition factors have been applied during the electrofishing survey. The 
ratio of body depth to total length is an index of the relative plumpness of 
commercially valuable species, such as the common carp. High values indicate 
a relatively thin fish, whereas low values indicate a more marketable fish. 
The relative weight index, W r , compares the weight of a fish to an ideal 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 6 

weight for a fish of that same length and species (Figures 10 and 11). The 
ideal weight (which has a value of 1.0) is based on the top quartile of 
length-specific weights from bodies of water in the same geographic region 
where fish are known to grow well (Murphy, Brown and Springer 1990). 

There is a remarkable contrast between W r for bluegill and common carp (Fig- 
ures 12 and 13). The bluegill has not only recolonized the upper Illinois 
Waterway in the 1990s, but also appears to be growing well, with W r values 
consistently greater than 1.0 (Figure 12). The bluegill W r values have in- 
creased dramatically in all the navigation pools but one since 1963 (Figure 
12). Conversely, W r for carp has declined in every pool since 1963, and the 
1991 values are substantially below 1.0 (Figure 13). The difference is proba- 
bly explained by differences in the food supply. The common carp is a rooting 
type of bottom feeder which can consume detritus, but seems to do better on 
benthic macroinvertebrates; in the Illinois Waterway, at least, there is a 
significant correlation between the body depth/length ratio and the availabil- 
ity of benthic macroinvertebrates (Figure 14). Populations of benthic mac- 
roinvertebrates have been low in the Illinois Waterway since a major dieoff in 
1958 and have not recolonized to their former numbers (Sparks 1984). Recent 
studies by the Illinois Natural History Survey indicate that pore water in the 
sediments of the Illinois Waterway contain levels of ammonia that are toxic to 
fingernail clams, Musculium transversum, which once were major food items for 
bottom-feeding fish and diving ducks (Sparks, Blodgett and Dillon 1991). In 
contrast to carp, bluegills feed by picking at insects that may be on the 
surface, submerged substrates, or on the bottom sediments, and these inverte- 
brate dingers and sprawlers [sensu Cummins and Merritt 1984) have benefited 
from improved water quality, as indicated by greater numbers of relatively 
pollution-intolerant forms appearing on artificial substrates suspended in the 
water column (Illinois Environmental Protection Agency 1990). The difference 
between the condition of bluegill and carp thus appears to be related ulti- 
mately to the difference in the quality of water and sediments, which in turn 
affects the food organisms of the fish. 

Incidence of abnormalities 

In the 1960s, virtually all the fish collected in the Dresden Pool close to 
Chicago had abnormalities of various kinds and although the incidence of 
abnormalities declined downstream, 20% of the fish were abnormal as far down- 
stream as 290 km (180 miles) from the city (Figure 15). Virtually all the 
carp in Dresden Pool had the knothead condition described above and a few fish 
in every collection had lumps or spinal deformities such as curved backs and 
upturned tails. A study of similar abnormalities in the fishes of the Fox 
River, a tributary of the Illinois, indicated that tumors and precancerous 
lesions were associated with the presence of carcinogens in the water (Brown 
et al . 1973). By 1991 only 10% of the fish in the Dresden Pool showed exter- 
nal abnormalities, mostly sores and eroded fins, and the incidence was even 
lower in the downstream pools. Few carp now have knothead. Most of the 
eroded fins occur in bottom-dwelling fish, and the ventral barbels and fins of 
these fish are most likely to be eroded or in the process of regenerating 
after being eroded, indicating that the condition may be caused, or at least 
aggravated, by contact with the sediment. It would be worthwhile to determine 
whether the sediments contain biological or chemical agents that induce the 
fin erosion--one more example of a preliminary insight and line of inquiry 
suggested by the results of the electrofishing survey. 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 7 



SUMMARY 

In its relatively brief course of 300 miles (480 km), the Illinois Waterway is 
subject to major urban and agricultural impacts that occur commonly on many 
rivers throughout the United States. The waterway is exceptional, however, in 
that the effects of these disturbances on fish populations have been document- 
ed by an annual electrofishing survey that is probably unique in duration (35 
years) and consistency of sampling technique. The duration of the record 
makes it possible to detect trends that would otherwise be obscured by annual 
variations and to sort out human-induced changes from natural environmental 
fluctuations, such as droughts and floods. Despite the natural complexity of 
the large floodplain river system and the variety of human disturbances to 
which it has been subjected, the relatively simple electrofishing survey has 
provided semi-quantitative assessments of fish communities and preliminary 
insights into the factors that influence them. Some of these trends subse- 
quently were linked to causes through ancillary sampling (e.g., of macroinver- 
tebrates which fish feed upon) and toxicity identification and evaluation 
procedures. 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 8 

REFERENCES 

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON ELECTROFISHING: 

Temple, A.J. 1990. Selected references on electrofishing. Pages 231-243 in 
Principles & Techniques of Electrofishing. The Fisheries Academy, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fisheries Center- Leetown, Kearneys- 
ville, WV. 351 p. 

A bibliography on general techniques and uses of electrofishing and 
effects of electrofishing on fish and invertebrates; also lists 
manufacturers and distributors of electrofishing equipment. 

GRADIENT ANALYSIS AND ORDINATION TECHNIQUES: 

Rahel, F.J., and W.A. Hubert. 1991. Fish assemblages and habitat gradients 
in a rocky Mountain-Great Plains stream: biotic zonation and additive 
patterns of community change. Transactions of the American Fisheries 
Society 120:319-332. 

EFFICIENCY OF ELECTROFISHING: 

Austen, D. 1992. Analysis of fish communities in Illinois lakes. PhD dis- 
sertation. Iowa State University. Ames, Iowa. 

Bayley, P.B., and D.C. Dowling. 1990. Gear efficiency calibrations for 
stream and river sampling. Illinois Natural History Survey, Aquatic 
Ecology Technical Report 90/8, Champaign, IL. 51 p. 

Larimore, R.W. 1961. Fish population and electrofishing success in a warm- 
water stream. Journal of Wildlife Management 25:1-12. 

Nelson, K.L., and A.E. Little. 1986. Evaluation of the relative selectivity 
of sampling gear on Ictalurid populations in the Neuse River. 
Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of 
Fish and Wildlife Agencies 40:72-78. 

FL00DPULSE CONCEPT: 

Bayley, P.B. 1991. The flood pulse advantage and the restoration of river- 
floodplain systems. Regulated Rivers: Research & Management 6:75-86. 

Junk, W.J., P.B. Bayley, and R.E. Sparks. 1989. The flood pulse concept in 

river-floodplain systems. Pages 110-127 in D.P. Dodge, ed. Proceedings 
of the International Large River Symposium. Canadian Special Publication 

of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 106. 629 p. 

Sparks, R.E., P.B. Bayley, S.L. Kohler, and L.L. Osborne. 1990. Disturbance 
and recovery of large floodplain rivers. Environmental Management 
14(5):699-709. 

ILLINOIS RIVER: 

Bellrose, F.C., S.P. Havera, F.L. Paveglio, Jr., and D.W. Steffeck. 1983. 

The fate of lakes in the Illinois River valley. Illinois Natural History 
Survey Biological Notes 119. 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 9 

Conlin, M. 1991. Illinois River fisheries and wildlife resources. Pages 28- 
36 in Proceedings of the 1991 Governor's Conference on the Management of 
the Illinois River System. Third Biennial Conference October 22-23, 
1991, Hotel Pere Marquette, Peoria, IL. 166 p. 

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. 1990. Illinois Water Quality 
Report 1988-1989. IEPA/WPC/90-160. Illinois Environmental Protection 
Agency, Division of Water Pollution Control, Springfield, IL. 352 p. 

Mills, H.B., W.C. Starrett, and F.C. Bellrose. 1966. Man's effect on the 
fish and wildlife of the Illinois River. Biological Notes, No. 57. 
Illinois Natural History Survey, Urbana, IL. 24 p. 

Smith, P.W. 1979. The fishes of Illinois. University of Illinois Press. 
Urbana, IL. 314 p. 

Sparks, R.E., and W.C. Starrett. 1975. An electrofishing survey of the 
Illinois River, 1959-1974. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 
31(8):317-380. 

Sparks, R.E. 1977. Environmental inventory and assessment of navigation 
Pools 24, 25, and 26, Upper Mississippi and Lower Illinois rivers. An 
electrofishing survey of the Illinois River. Urbana-Champaign Water 
Resources Center Special Report No. 5. UILU-WRC-77-0005. University of 
Illinois, Urbana, IL. 122 p. 

Sparks, R.E. 1984. The role of contaminants in the decline of the Illinois 
River: Implications for the Upper Mississippi. Pages 25-66 in J.G. 
Wiener, R.V. Anderson, and D.R. McConville, eds. Contaminants in the 
Upper Mississippi River. Proceedings of the 15th Annual Meeting of the 
Mississippi River Research Consortium. Butterworth Publishers, Stoneham, 
MA. 368 p. 

Sparks, R.E., K.D. Blodgett, and F.S. Dillon. 1991. Ammonia in the Illinois 
River. Illinois Natural History Survey Reports No. 312. P. 1-2. 

Sparks, R.E. 1992. The Illinois River-Floodplain Ecosystem. Pages 412-432 
in: National Research Council. 1992. Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: 
Science, Technology, and Public Policy. Water Science and Technology 
Board, Commission on Geosciences, Environment and Resources, National 
Research Council. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C. 552 p. 

RESTORATION: 



National Research Council. 1992. Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, 
Technology, and Public Policy. Water Science and Technology Board, 
Commission on Geosciences, Environment and Resources, National Research 
Council. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C. 552 p. 

STRESS INDICES FOR FISH: 

Brigham, W.U., and D.L. Hey. 1981. A stress function for evaluating 

strategies for water quality management. U.S. Department of commerce, 
National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA. 92 p. 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 10 

Lubinski, K.S., and R.E. Sparks. 1981. Use of bluegill toxicity indexes in 

Illinois. Pages 324-337 in D.R. Branson and K.L. Dickson eds. Aquatic 

toxicology and hazard assessment. American Society for testing and 

Materials, Philadelphia, PA. 

TUMORS IN FISH: 

Baumann, P.C., W.D. Smith, and W.K. Parland. 1987. Tumor frequencies and 
contaminant concentrations in brown bullheads from an industrialized 
river and a recreational lake. Transactions of the American Fisheries 
Society 116(1) :79-86. 

Brown, E.R., J.J. Hazdra, L. Keith, I. Greenspan, J.B.G. Kwapinski, and P. 

Beamer. 1973. Frequency of fish tumors found in a polluted watershed as 
compared to nonpolluted Canadian waters. Cancer Research 33:189-198. 

Harshbarger, John C. 1982. Activities report, registry of tumors in lower 
animals: 1981 supplement. Registry of Tumors in Lower Animals. 
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 
D.C. Contract #N01-CP-33874. 52 p. 

Anderson, R.O. and S.J. Gutreuter. 1983. Length, weight and associated 
structural indices. Pages 283-300 In L.A. Nielsen, and D.L. Johnson, 
eds. Fisheries Techniques. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, 
Maryland. 

Murphy, B.R., M.L. Brown, and T.A. Springer. 1990. Evaluation of the 
relative weight (l«L) index, with new applications to walleye. North 
American Journal of Fisheries Management 10:85-97. 

Murphy, B.R., D.W. Willis, and T.A. Springer. 1991. The relative weight 
index in fisheries management: status and needs. Fisheries 16:30-38. 

Wege, G.J., and R.O. Anderson. 1978. Relative weight (W r ) : a new index of 
condition for largemouth bass. Pages 79-91 in G.D. Novinger, and J.G. 
Dillard, eds. New Approaches to the Management of Small Impoundments. 
American Fisheries Society, North Central Division, Special Publication 
5, Bethesda, Maryland. 

POINTS OF CONTACT 

Temple, Alan J. (Electrofishing short courses and information) 

Fisheries Academy 

National Fisheries Center - Leetown 

Route 3, Box 49 

Kearneysville, WV 25430 

(304) 725-8463 

Registry of Tumors in Lower Animals (Tumors in fish) 
National Museum of Natural History 
Room W216-A 

Smithsonian Institution 
Washington, D.C. 20560 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 11 

Figure Legends 

Figure 1. Location of the electrofishing stations. The Illinois River is 
joined to Lake Michigan via the Des Plaines River and the canal 
system in the Chicago area. The entire system, from Lake Michigan 
to the confluence with the Mississippi River, is known as the 
Illinois Waterway. 

Figure 2. Total ammonia concentrations increase in the upstream direction, 
toward Chicago. Between 1975 and 1990 the concentrations have 
substantially declined. IEPA = Illinois Environmental Protection 
Agency. USGS = U.S. Geological Survey. MWRDGC = Metropolitan 
Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. 

Figure 3. Secchi disk readings (a measure of water clarity) decline in the 
downstream direction, where tributaries introduce erosion silt 
from agricultural areas. Submersed aquatic plants are virtually 
absent from the river downstream of mile 220, at least partly 
because of the reduced light penetration. 

Figure 4. Types of aquatic habitat available in the Illinois River. The 

Illinois River electrofishing survey is conducted in the shallow 
borders of the main channels and side channels. 

Figure 5. Pounds of black crappie and white crappie collected per hour in 
the Illinois River in 1991. The black crappie prefers moderately 
clear water, whereas the white crappie tolerates turbid water and 
occurs primarily in the turbid lower river. 

Figure 6. Number of sauger collected in the Illinois River, 1957-1991. 

Figure 7. Pounds of largemouth bass collected per hour in the Illinois 

River, 1959-1991. Bass returned to the upper river (Marseilles 
and Starved Rock pools) starting in 1973. The catch rate of 
largemouth bass did not decline as much during the 1988-1989 
drought as during the drought of the mid-1960s, indicating im- 
provement in waste treatment and water quality in the interim. 

Figure 8. Decline in ammonia toxicity between 1975 and 1990, as measured in 
bluegill toxicity units (BGTUs). A BGTU of 1.0 is the lethal 
threshold, 0.2 is the threshold for degradation of the fish commu- 
nity, and values below 0.2 allow populations of native fishes to 
sustain themselves (see text). 

Figure 9. Toxicity, in bluegill toxicity units (BGTUs), of hypothetical 

water samples that meet water quality standards. A BGTU of 1.0 is 
the lethal threshold, 0.2 is the threshold for degradation of the 
fish community, and values below 0.2 allow populations of native 
fishes to sustain themselves (see text). 

Figure 10. Calculation of relative weight, W r . 

Figure 11. Examples of standard weight-length relationships for calculating 
W r for bluegill and carp. W s = standard weight. L - total 
length. 



Long-term monitoring Sparks, Blodgett, and Lerczak Page 12 



Figure 12. VL for bluegill in the Illinois River in 1963, 1975, and 1991. In 
1963 and 1975 no bluegill longer than 80 mm were caught in the 
upstream part of the Illinois Waterway (Marseilles and Dresden 
pools), near Chicago. W r of bluegill has increased in recent 
years, exceeding the index value of 1.0 throughout the river. 

Figure 13. W r for carp in the Illinois River in 1963, 1975, and 1991. In 
contrast to bluegill, W r of carp has decl ined in recent years. 

Figure 14. Relationship between carp condition (body depth/length ratio) and 
food supply (benthos) in 1975. High values for the condition 
index indicate a thin fish of little market value in the commer- 
cial fishery. 

Figure 15. Incidence of fish with externally-visible abnormalities in the 
Illinois River in 1963, 1975, and 1991. Numbers above each bar 
indicate the total number of fish caught. 



Mississippi 
River 




Lake 

Michigan 



Chicago 



Brandon 
Roads 



Missouri River 



St. Louis- 



Ohio 
River 



2 

CD 

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- -1975 No. of stations = 12 (IEPA) 

— 1990 No. of stations = 16 (USGS, MWRDGC) 

IPCB standards (general use): 

total ammonia N = 15.0 mg/l 
un-ionized ammonia = 0.04 mg/l 




50 

Mississippi River 



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Illinois Waterway Mile 



250 



300 350 

Chicago 



Secchi disk measurements for 1991. 



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Mississippi 
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Illinois Waterway Mile 



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1991 






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Alton Lagrange Peoria 



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Marseilles 



Dresden 
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Illinois Waterway Pool 



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63 



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£ 73 
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77 



79 



81 



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Total number of Sauger collected by INHS 
during annual surveys of the Illinois Waterway 
(NF indicates years Not Fished) 



21 



13 




16 



10 15 

Number 



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25 



1959 1961 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 

1 960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1 984 1986 1 988 1 990 Mean 



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52-Year Mean Flow 
(21,990 Thousand Cubic Feel per Second) 



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1959 1961 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 
1960 1962 1964 1966 1968 1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 

NF = Not Fished 
NC = Not Calculated 



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1990 



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Mississippi 
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60 100 140 180 220 260 300 

Illinois Waterway Mile Chicago 



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Size class (mm) 4 C 32 C 

55 22.7 7.2 

100 8.2 2.6 

150 0.31 0.10 



IPCB standards: 

total ammonia = 15mg/l 
DO = 5 mg/l 
pH = 9.0 



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1.6 




Wr (1963) = 0.914 Wr (1991) = 1.08 
Wr(1975) = 0.984 
9 



Mississippi Alton LaGrange Peoria Starved Marseilles Dresden 
River R ock 

Illinois Waterway Pool 



Mean relative weight for carp (length>280 mm). 




Mississippi Alton LaGrange Peoria Starved Marseilles Dresden 
River Rock 



Illinois Waterway Pool 



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